Vaccines

WHO approves China flu vaccine, lauds growing industry

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved a Chinese influenza vaccine as being safe and effective, only the second Chinese vaccine to receive such status reflecting the growing clout of the country's drug makers.

The WHO said in a statement on Friday that it had "prequalified" a vaccine made by Hualan Biological Bacterin Corp, a subsidiary of Hualan Biological Engineering Inc.

The approval involved stringent lab tests and a site inspection.

The other made-in-China vaccine to achieve WHO prequalification was a drug against Japanese encephalitis in 2013, the WHO said.

"WHO prequalification of the Hualan vaccine is another feather in the cap of China's growing vaccine manufacturing industry," Bernhard Schwartländer, WHO representative in China, said in a statement.

The development "shows that the country is set to become one of the preeminent vaccine manufacturers globally," he added.

Chinese drug makers saw sales growth speed up and margins widen at the start of the year, in a sign that the world's second-largest pharmaceuticals market may be rebounding from a crackdown on corruption and high prices.

China is increasingly flexing its scientific muscle in drug development, approving a new polio vaccine in January a month after local authorities gave the green light for a home-grown Ebola vaccine.